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Tuesday 21st February 2012    Day Seven

Woke up early this morning (6.30am) to the sound of ice being scraped from the tents  and when we looked outside it was very white and crispy due to the rain,

hail and snow that had fallen overnight before, during and after the storm.

                                    The night before                                                                                                                                                   and in the morning

A quick wash (I’m finding the baby wipes are much more effective!) and off to breakfast which we all noticed was lacking in eggs and bacon.  We got all our gear packed and were ready to leave by 8am. 

We pack all our overnight stuff into our duffle bags just taking our day packs with us and the porters load it all up along with the tents, water, cooking equipment etc, etc and carry it on to the next camp. 

They are allowed to carry a maximum of 25 kilos which believe me at this altitude is an amazing amount.   We struggle with our day packs of no more than 3 – 5 kilos!

Terry was feeling a little sick this morning so Chaz gave him a tablet and he felt much better after a few minutes of walking.  It was very icy and slippery at first and we were climbing through a lot of rocks. 


It soon improved and we picked up quite a good pace as the going was reasonably level.  We’re off to base camp today and you could see where we had to get to almost as soon as we set off.  Chaz said it would take us around 5 hours but as we could see our destination it looked a lot closer.  We were going across the ‘saddle’ as they called it and it was all very gravely, extremely open but with only a gradual incline. 

We are now in high desert land where there are very few plants or greenery. 

Luckily the weather was kind, it can get windy here which would make it very difficult and tiring but we experienced lots of sunshine with limited cloud.  We passed a plane wreck (there wasn’t much left) and were told that it was a Kenyan plane where four passengers died instantly and only the pilot survived.  They got caught in bad weather and were using an illegal communication system which didn’t give them enough information.  They also said that one couple on board were on their honeymoon!

We could see the Kibo huts but the further we walked the further away they seemed to get.  It really was as one of the guides said ‘quite a long trot’!  Until the cloud came over we could see the path we would be taking up the mountain later on tonight.

 After arriving at camp and signing in (in record time we thought as it only took us three hours 45 minutes!), we retired to our tents for a rest until lunchtime. 

Terry and I started putting our kit on for tonight as its cold with some hail on and off but luckily no wind.  We are now at a grand height of 4700 metres!  with a sign of what's to come.

At lunch where they seem to have fresh food supplies (the bread wasn’t quite as stale!) Chaz came and told us how to kit ourselves out for the summit climb tonight.  Basically that meant wear everything you have with you and keep as warm as possible. 

He went through our time table and estimated after leaving at 12 midnight we would reach Gilmans point for 6.30am and sunrise.  Because we were all fit and well he estimated we now have a 96% chance of reaching the summit.

 After a few hours rest and after adding a few more layers we were back in the mess tent for ‘heavy’ dinner.  This was rice and goulash with lots of potatoes, they’re stuffing us full of carbohydrates.  We all ate reasonably well our appetites don’t seem to be dwindling it’s just the quantity they expect you to eat that’s difficult!

 We all seem prepared and well layered and can’t believe the big climb is nearly upon us!  Back to bed for as much rest as possible and then we were woken at 11pm for breakfast at 11.30pm which was – yes you’ve guessed it – porridge, a few biscuits and a bar of chocolate for our snack on the mountain.